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Jul 4, 2017

Why Vera could not get bail the usual way

Anthony Sylvestre

But why can’t Vera apply directly to the court as a result of appealing his conviction? The answer lies in a change to the law that in fact limits his options, according to Sylvestre. Direct appeal to the court is only permissible for convictions on charges listed under the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act, which does not cover Vera’s alleged crime. Second, does the error have greater consequences for the outcome of the appeal itself? We put the question to Sylvestre.

 

Anthony Sylvestre, Attorney for Orlando Vera

“Prior to 2011, all persons who were convicted of a criminal offense in the Magistrate’s Court could have obtained bail once they lodged their appeal. There was an amendment to the Supreme Court of Judicature Act. And in that amendment, in our view, there was a provision which places convicted persons from the Magistracy in Belize in a different position I would respectfully say from other persons in other jurisdictions, because what that amendment says is that a person who has been convicted can apply for the Supreme Court for bail and the provisions of the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act would apply. Now, the offense for which Mr. Vera has been convicted an offense which would not fall under the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act. To put it simply, persons who apply for bail under the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act are those persons who are charged with firearm-related offenses like attempted murder; more serious offenses. His offense is not listed in the subsection as one of those offenses which are caught under the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act, so we were saying from the get-go that because of that, then he is to be treated in a different position than other persons who may be convicted of say, a firearm-related offense or such offenses which would be caught under the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act. That’s our view; the court has not made a decision on it as yet; but a very strict and very literal reading of the law, that’s what the law says. What happened and I made the point that in preparation of the records of appeal, strict conformity of the law has to be done. I made the point that I was doing an appeal, we did not comply with certain things within a certain time, so we had to go back to the Court of Appeal to ask for an extension of time. So we are saying that in our view, the similar strict conformity of the law has to be applied in respect to appeals, whether it emanates from the Magistrate’s Court or the Supreme Court; that that is the law and ought to be applied strictly across the board.”

 

The Crown is represented by Jacqueline Willoughby, who will make her submissions on Friday afternoon at one-thirty before presiding Justice Herbert Lord issues his ruling. Vera remains on remand until that date.

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1 Response for “Why Vera could not get bail the usual way”

  1. Belizean pride says:

    just leave him there until we have time for him since he has made the Justice department very disgraceful due to the post he once held. His post is the very culmination for a crime to be solved and is the last pace where a crime can be solved. But his actions in that post cause a cringe to many family victims as to think did he ever did the same to the victim to manipulate the evidence for the verdict to fail and no justice to be serve properly?

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